Information on Wills, Living Trusts & Estate Matters

Tag: Living Trust

10 Best Estate Planning Websites

10 Best Estate Planning Websites

10 Best Estate Planning Websites

The Top 10 Estate Planning Websites of 2022

Here is our list of the Top 10 Best Estate Planning Websites for 2022. Each of these websites features free estate planning information to assist you. Our top sites all included comprehensive information on estate planning that is approachable and easy to understand.  If you have a suggestion for a great estate planning website that did not make the list, please leave us a comment or contact us here.

Best Estate Planning Website List:

#1 – Estate Planning Guide is our top rated Estate Planning Website for 2022. Estate Planning Guide features free information on a vast selection of estate planning topics.  The site is easy to navigate and has a variety of free tools available to help those getting started with their estate planning, including a free and downloadable estate planning guide. In addition to estate planning information, the site also features helpful tools for calculating inheritance and even potential property tax savings on an inherited home.  You can view a list of their free to use estate planning tools here.

#2 – My Estate Plan Lawyer is another great estate planning resource. The site includes a blog with a variety of pertinent estate planning articles and the ability to request additional estate planning information by email. The is the website for Los Angeles based attorney, Richard Seff, Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney. Richard Seff has a 5 Star review on Google. Here is some additional information from their website “As your trusted advisor, we will be there to answer your questions, offer advice and update your estate plan so it continues to meet your needs throughout your lifetime. To that end, we encourage you call us with questions and you will not have to worry about a bill. Everything we do is billed on a flat-fee basis, agreed to in advance, so there are never any surprises. And because relationships change, finances change, and the law definitely changes over time, we offer a free consultation every three years to make sure your estate plan is up-to-date.”

#3 – American Bar Association Estate Planning

The American Bar Association has a fantastic estate planning section on their website that covers a variety of estate planning topics including wills, trusts and power of attorneys.  A good place to start on their website is in their Introduction to Estate Planning Wills section of their website.

#4 – American College of Trust and Estate Counsel is the website for the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. The site features an abundance of estate planning information including estate planning videos.  Some of the topics they cover include, Preparing for Your Initial Estate Planning Meeting, Common IRA Beneficiary Scenarios, Understanding Cryptocurrency in Estate Planning, Tips for Managing Digital Assets of a Deceased or Disabled Person, When and How to Use a Prenuptial Agreement and Key Roles Involved in an Estate Plan.

#5 – Trust & Will Estate Planning has a variety of information to assist you with your estate planning.  Their website features an Estate Planning 101 guide that covers all of the basics of estate planning including topics such as, What is Estate Planning?, Basics of Estate Planning, Most common Estate Planning Documents, Estate Planning & Taxes, Who Needs an Estate Plan, How to Create an Estate Plan, Common Estate Planning mistakes and The Difference Between an Estate Plan and a Will.

#6 – Estate Planning Checklist

Investopedia hosts a really great Estate Planning Checklist that walks you through the basic steps of estate planning. “Estate planning is putting your affairs in order so that your loved ones can take over if you die or are incapacitated. A will is an essential piece of the plan. So are lists of your assets and obligations, with details of all open accounts. Make sure you record your beneficiaries on your retirement and investment accounts so there’s no delay in carrying out your wishes.” That is just the introduction of their estate planning section.  Their estate planning checklist includes a variety of sections including, Itemize Your Inventory,  Listing Your Assets, Assemble a List of Debts, Transfer on Death Designations, Select an Estate Administrator and Draft a Will.

#7 – The Cunningham Legal Estate Planning Team

Cunningham Legal is a top law firm in California and has developed a really great website with a wealth of information on estate planning. They can assist you with basic estate planning issues to the most complex elements. Their website features a comprehensive Estate Planning Frequently Asked Questions section that includes such topics as:

  • How long does it take to create an Estate Plan?
  • Does a Trust expire?
  • What’s the difference between a Will, a Living Will, a Pour-Over Will, and a Living Trust?
  • Do Advance Health Care Directives, Living Wills, and HIPAA documents expire when someone dies?
  • If my Trust is written in California, will it work in different states?
  • Do I have to pay for future changes to my Living Trust?
  • Should I name one Successor Trustee or two for my Living Trust?
  • What is the cost of probate vs. the upfront cost of Estate planning and creation of a Living Trust?
  • Are handwritten Wills legal?
  • Is a Will or a Living Trust Better?
  • Does it matter if the law firm that creates my Living Trust still exists after I die?
  • What is a letter of instruction in an Estate, also known as a letter of intent?
  • What is a Certificate of Trust?

#8 – The Bank Rate Estate Planning Section is a website the guides assists it’s viewers with locating financial information such as savings and mortgage interest rates, but they also do more than just that. also has a section of their website that is dedicated to estate planning. The website covers topics such as Elements of a Well Rounded Estate Plan, Why Do You Need An Estate Plan and How To Create A Well Rounded Estate Plan.

#9 – Estate Planning Information has a great selection of estate planning resources on their website. Their Estate Planning 7-Step Checklist gives some great advice for those who are just starting on their estate planning journey. Here is a some information on their website on  What is estate planning, “Estate planning is the process of designating who will receive your assets in the event of your death or incapacitation. Often done with guidance from an attorney, one goal is to ensure heirs and beneficiaries receive assets in a way that manages and minimizes estate taxes, gift taxes and other tax impacts.” Their seven step guide to estate planning covers the following topics:

1. Inventory your stuff
2. Account for your family’s needs
3. Establish your directives
4. Review your beneficiaries
5. Note your state’s estate tax laws
6. Weigh the value of professional help
7. Plan to reassess

#10 – Estate Planning has a phenomenal section on estate planning that covers everything from Advance Healthcare Directives to Wills. One of the best aspects about is that they can provide you with state specific information about legal matters such as will, regardless of where in the United State you reside.  To find state specific estate planning information, click here and then select your state of interest. also has a blog with a selection of articles on a variety of estate planning topics such as:

  • Avoiding Family Disputes
  • Charitable Gifts and Trusts
  • Cryptocurrency and Estate Planning
  • DIY Estate Planning
  • Estate and Inheritance Taxes
  • Estates, Executors & Probate Court
  • Financial Powers of Attorney
  • Intestate Succession
  • Living Trusts
  • Living Wills & Medical Powers of Attorney
  • Pets and Estate Planning

What is a Beneficiary?

What is a beneficiary?

What does beneficiary mean?

What does Beneficiary mean?

A beneficiary is a person or thing that receives help or an advantage from something. At least that is the definition if you look beneficiary up in the dictionary, and it is a true statement. When it comes to estate planning, the word becomes further defined. In estate planning, a beneficiary is a person (or thing) that receives the benefit of money, property or real property from a trust or estate on behalf of a Testator, Benefactor or Settlor. For example, the beneficiary of a life insurance policy is the person who receives the payment from the insurance company after the death of the insured. Or one of the beneficiaries of the estate received the decedent’s automobile.

How do you designate a Beneficiary?

A beneficiary can actually be designated in several places and that can be problematic. Beneficiaries are most commonly designated in a Will or in a Living Trust, but they can also be designated in a life insurance policy, retirement fund, investment account or bank account. The reason this can be problematic is that the information can become outdated and conflicting. For example, a Testator (the person who makes a will) may designate the Beneficiary of his life insurance policy as his second daughter in his will, but he may have previously designated the beneficiary of that policy as his first son when he took out the policy with his insurance company.  In this situation it will likely be up to the probate court to determine who the true Beneficiary of the insurance policy is.

Can a Beneficiary be removed from a will or a trust?

Yes, a beneficiary can be removed from a will or trust while the Testator is still alive and while the living trust is still revocable. The term “Last Will and Testament” means the final version of a will if multiple version exist or existed. People will commonly make updates to their will as life events occur and they may choose to add or remove beneficiaries.  A living trust is typically a revocable living trust while the person who created it (the Settlor or Trustor) is alive. Revocable means that they are able to make changes to the trust. Often when the creator of the living trust passes, it becomes irrevocable and changes to it can no longer be made. It should be mentioned that each state has their own laws and rules governing the validity of a will, trust or estate. In most situations if it can be proven that a person made changes to their estate planning documents when they were not of sound mind or do to coercion, those changes may not be accepted by a court.

What is a trust?

What is a Trust?

What is a Trust?

A trust is a legal arrangement that allows your assets to be held and managed by a third party. This third party is known as a Trustee. The Trustee is the person or group of people that are responsible for ensuring that your estate is handled in the manner specified in the trust. There are several purposes for a trust, but one of the more common reasons people choose to use a trust is to make sure their assets are distributed how they wish and avoiding the need for Probate. There are many different types of trusts, each serving a specific purpose; here are some of the most common:

  • Living Trust – A living trust is a legal arrangement established by a grantor during their lifetime to protect their assets and direct their distribution after the grantor’s death.
  • Revocable Trust – A revocable trust allows the creator / trustor to make changes to the document or terminate the trust altogether.
  • Irrevocable Trust – An irrevocable trust is a trust where the trustor nor anyone else is allowed to change the document. Often a revocable trust will become irrevocable when an even occurs, such as the passing of the trustor.
  • Special Needs Trust – A Special Needs Trust allows a person with special needs to be awarded their inheritance without impacting their Social Security benefits.
  • Asset Protection Trust – An Asset Protection Trust is a trust that is designed to protect a trustor’s assets from creditor claims.
  • Charitable Trust – A Charitable Trusts is a trust designed to carry out the charitable interests of a trustor.
  • Trust Fund – A Trust Fund is an estate planning tool that holds property or assets for a person or organization. Trust funds can hold a variety of assets including currency, real property, stocks, or a business interest.

A trust is just one way of handling estate planning. In some cases a will or last will and testament may be a better option for you. If you are trying to decide how to provide for the distribution of your assets or care of your children after you die or need legal assistance, you should contact a lawyer for guidance.

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